Democrat Michael Dukakis said Tuesday the United States should encourage better Soviet relations but still deal firmly with any Soviet deception or aggression. Republican George Bush, emphasizing economic themes, said Americans are better off than when President Reagan took office.
Dukakis said of U.S.-Soviet relations, "We in America should stand ready to respond to progress with progress. But we must be ready to meet stubbornness with determination, deception with the truth and aggression with the full power of a strong and united democratic alliance."His comments, continuing a weeklong emphasis on foreign and military policy, came one day after he pledged support for the Stealth bomber, which he said was begun during a Democratic administration and would be completed during his own.
Bush, renewing his attack on Dukakis as too liberal for the presidency, said Tuesday in a speech to the Executives' Club in Chicago that the Democrat supports a big-government philosophy that will leave "America shackled to the mistakes of the past."
In his remarks, Bush embraced Reagan principles of less government but also praised the idea of "economic empowerment," a phrase often used by Jesse Jackson, a Democrat generally considered more liberal than Dukakis.
Bush said that in addition to his stands against new taxes and in favor of a "flexible freeze" on government spending, "the third principle is economic empowerment. The strength of our economy comes from the people, not from the government, from the creativity and initiative of the individual, not from official directives, five-year plans and so-called industrial policies."
Dukakis, in a speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations Tuesday, said, "Yes, it would be naive to take (Soviet leader Mikhail) Gorbachev at his word, but it would be dangerous to allow his words to go unanswered and untested in the court of public opinion around the world."
He praised Reagan for the progress his administration has made on nuclear arms control but said too often the arms-reduction proposals came from the Soviet Union. And he questioned whether Bush or his running mate, Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle, had the judgment and experience to negotiate with the Soviets.
"George Bush has been around Washington a long time, but if he couldn't stand up to the ayatollah or say no to Noriega, how will he measure up to Gorbachev?" Dukakis asked.
Meanwhile, five members of Bush's Coalition of American Nationalities resigned Monday amid charges of ties to anti-Semitic organizations. They said in a statement they were leaving "because we have been attacked unfairly by George Bush's political opponents."